Wired reports that the entire This American Life episode which featured an excerpt from Mike Daisey’s monologue, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs about working conditions inside the Foxconn factory, has been retracted because Daisey “partially fabricated” details of his visit to the Chinese factory.
According to PRI (Public Radio International): “Among the many facts Daisey fabricated were the number of Foxconn factories he visited, the number of workers he spoke with, as well a major lie about meeting with a number of workers who claimed to have been poisoned by chemicals used on iPhone assembly lines.” Ira Glass, host of the popular This American Life wrote “Daisey lied to me. “That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.”
On his Web site, Daisey responded “I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.
“What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed This American Life to air an excerpt from my monologue.
“But this is my only regret. I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China.”
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs will return as announced to Woolly Mammoth this summer.
In a response just received from Woolly: “Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is proud to have hosted the “birth” performance and a highly successful run of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a daring work of theatre that opened people’s eyes to some of the real working conditions in Chinese factories where high-tech products are manufactured–conditions which have been documented by subsequent journalistic accounts in The New York Times and other sources.
“It’s a core value of Woolly to present works that spark conversation around topics of socio-political importance, and we’re pleased to have played a part in bringing these issues to national attention. We look forward to welcoming Mike back for an encore performance of the show this summer.”
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs will run July 17 – August 5 at Woolly Mammoth. Details are here.